Prioritizing the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
The Children's Bureau (CB) is the agency within the Federal Government that is responsible for assisting child welfare systems by promoting continuous improvement in the delivery of child welfare services. CB’s vision for child welfare is to support families and strengthen communities in ways that will prevent initial acts of harm to children and allow children to remain safe with their families and in their communities. However, in the existing child welfare approach, the majority of services are provided after abuse and neglect occur. As a result, most resources are directed toward children in out-of-home care, reunification, adoption, or another permanency option, rather than on primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. CB has prioritized efforts to support state and local child welfare agencies to focus more on strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment. This includes initiatives to build protective factors, which are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and wellbeing. For more information on protective factors, visit: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/protective_factors.pdf
Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Authorized by Title II of CAPTA, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) is currently the only federal funding supporting the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. Funding for CBCAP programs is limited. In federal fiscal year (FY) 2018, approximately $37.7 million was appropriated for formula grants for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. One percent of funds (approximately $293,000) was appropriated for tribal and migrant programs (three discretionary grants in FY2018).
The purposes of the CBCAP program are:
- To support community-based efforts to develop, operate, expand, enhance, and coordinate initiatives, programs, and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect;
- To support the coordination of resources and activities to better strengthen and support families to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect; and
- To foster understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of diverse populations in order to effectively prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.
Please review the CBCAP Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-18-04 (issued on March 6, 2018) at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/pi1804 for more information regarding CBCAP SLA requirements.
National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
Title II of CAPTA also authorizes training and technical assistance (T/TA) to CAPTA grantees, including CBCAP SLAs, tribal and migrant grantees, and their partners to support the development, implementation and evaluation of CBCAP programs, as required by the legislation. The National Center for CBCAP is CB’s principal vehicle for delivering effective, high-quality capacity building services to support CBCAP grantees in meeting the requirements outlined in the authorizing legislation. These capacity building services are vital to support CBCAP grantees to develop effective inter-disciplinary collaborative networks, implement culturally competent, community-based prevention programs, and enhance their overall organizational and system performance. CB also looks to the Center to assist with enhancing the involvement of CBCAP grantees in system change efforts, to include the promotion of CB’s vision to reorient child welfare to focus on strengthening families through prevention at the community level.
Recognizing that child welfare cannot achieve this vision alone, CB encourages cross sector collaboration between CBCAP grantees, the courts, other family serving agencies, and non-traditional partners. In addition, youth, parents, caregivers and others with lived experiences, to identify strategies that best support families, strengthen communities and prevent child maltreatment. The Center will play a critical role in building the capacity of CBCAP grantees to develop new and leverage existing interagency collaborative efforts with child welfare and other public and private organizations, including parent leaders and others with lived experience to identify and implement an effective prevention continuum. Moreover, the Center will be a valuable partner in supporting CB in achieving its vision.
Capacity Building to Implement Effective CBCAP Programs
The purpose of this FOA is to fund a National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention to build the capacity of CBCAP grantees (SLAs and tribal and migrant grantees) and their state, local, and tribal partners to implement and maintain effective community-based child abuse prevention programs. Specifically, the Center will support CBCAP grantees to develop, operate, expand, and enhance community-based, family-centered and prevention-focused programs and activities. To effectively strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect, the Center will assist grantees in identifying and implementing programs and activities that are accessible, effective, culturally appropriate, and build upon existing strengths of families and communities. The Center will be grounded with a thorough understanding of the legislative requirements of the CBCAP program (Title II of CAPTA) and gain experience with effective strategies to build capacity of CBCAP grantees to meet these requirements.
Capacity building efforts will be grounded in the Center’s comprehensive knowledge of state and tribal child welfare systems and effective resources that strengthen families, as well as a clear understanding of factors that can increase risk for child abuse and neglect, such as trauma exposure, substance misuse, domestic violence, homelessness and others.
Training and Technical Assistance Approach
The Center will develop and implement a plan to provide T/TA on effective program implementation, systemic intervention, and organizational change as it relates to family strengthening and prevention-focused initiatives and barriers to systemic change, as well as strategies to overcome them.
1. Universal Capacity Building Services are intended to increase awareness, understanding, and engagement to the target audience.
Universal capacity building services include, but are not limited to:
- reviewing and summarizing relevant research,
- gathering and organizing information and resources,
- making information more accessible for broader consumption,
- developing products and tools, and
- strategically disseminating information to the target audience.
2. Targeted/Specialized Capacity Building Services are intended to increase knowledge and skills of a specific cohort of the target audience on a particular topic or a specific aspect of child abuse prevention. Targeted services also foster opportunities for increased communication between professionals, and to build relationships and networks that will support learning. This includes group-based training and peer learning activities (e.g. peer learning calls, regional trainings, etc.).
3. Tailored and Intensive Services are intended to increase the knowledge and skills of individual target audience members and to foster improvements in organizational and system capacity as well. Tailored services are individualized to the unique needs and conditions of a member of the target audience and usually involve some combination of training, consultation, coaching, and other support. Tailored services are delivered through capacity building projects that require formal agreements between providers and recipients, clear expectations of involved parties, and measurable milestones and outcomes. Intensive and tailored services are designed to achieve observable changes in capacity, such as changes in organizational readiness, infrastructure, and sustained improvements in organizational performance. The Center will provide at least six tailored and intensive services per year, to be planned with approval by the Federal Project Officer.
To effectively administer T/A, the Center will utilize their sufficient experience and expertise in:
a. Assessing and identifying the T/TA needs of diverse child and family serving agencies or organizations;
b. Developing or participating in the development of a plan to meet those needs;
c. Designing, developing, and delivering T/TA, including recruiting, assigning, and deploying staff with appropriate experience;
d. Developing evaluation strategies and providing technical assistance on evaluation methodologies; and
e. Designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating training materials.
The Center will infuse protective factors in their approach to providing T/TA to CBCAP grantees. A wealth of research has demonstrated that protective factors are fundamental to individual, family and community resilience, and building them integral to achieving successful outcomes for children, youth, and families. The Center will use its strong understanding of the protective factors to provide guidance to CBCAP grantees and their partners on how to implement programs, policies, and systems that promote resilience, alleviate risk, and contribute to healthy child development and wellbeing.
Project Activities and Strategies
To build the capacity of grantees to implement effective CBCAP programs, the Center will identify and develop resources to promote increased use or maintenance of evidence-based or evidence-informed programs and practices that strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. The Center will further gather and create guidance and resources to promote the development, maintenance, and evaluation of successful interagency and inter-disciplinary networks of community-based programs that support families.
The Center will integrate cultural responsiveness and cultural humility into trainings, resource materials, measurement tools and other work with CBCAP grantees and their partners. This will include the identification and development of effective practices to maximize the participation of underserved or underrepresented populations in community-based, prevention-focused programs. The Center will specifically support efforts to increase the outreach and engagement of parents, racial and ethnic minorities, children and adults with disabilities, homeless families and those at risk of homelessness, unaccompanied homeless youth, and adult former victims of child abuse and neglect or domestic violence. The Center will further provide guidance to CBCAP grantees to promote the identification and service delivery to other populations vulnerable to child abuse and neglect, based on the needs of their service populations.
If project strategies or activities involve partnerships with additional agencies, organizations, or subcontractors, the Center will ensure each partnering organization has the ability and organizational capacity to fulfill its roles and functions.
Demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of the barriers to successful consultation and collaboration, the Center will provide feasible approaches or steps to building a collaborative network to overcome those barriers. With a thorough understanding of implementation, systemic intervention, and organizational change, the Center will support family strengthening and prevention-focused agencies enhance their partnerships with the child welfare system, the courts, other family-serving agencies and non-traditional partners. Support will include guidance to promote increased grantee participant in various systems change efforts (e.g., Program Improvement Plans, Child and Family Services Plan, Annual Progress and Services Report, and other related federal and state initiatives) and to address barriers that prevent change from occurring.
The Center will collaborate and coordinate activities with culturally diverse stakeholders from various disciplines and other CB technical assistance providers to perform project activities that support CBCAP and prevention programs. This includes assistance with developing resources, such as the annual Prevention Resource Guide, and other joint efforts for coordinated technical assistance to states and tribes with other CB technical assistance providers. The Center will also support the annual promotion of National Child Abuse Prevention month at national, state and local levels.
CB expects that information and knowledge generated by these projects and activities will be shared with the field and efforts will be made to integrate project knowledge and lessons learned into policy and practice. The Center will explore strategies to expand the knowledge base of practices and programs that effectively strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect by increasing the awareness, understanding, and practical application of research and evaluation findings. This will include research and findings on evidence-based and promising practices to prevent child maltreatment, strategies to support families through increased access to concrete supports, engagement of youth, parent and community leaders in the development, implementation, and evaluation of services, components of successful collaboration and other strategies to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.
The Center will create products and resources (fact sheets, briefs, web-based resources, and other learning tools) that will be made accessible through the development and maintenance of a website and other effective strategies to share information with diverse populations. The Center will administer training, tailored consultation, coaching, and other strategies to support improvements in individual and organizational performance. These strategies will be employed both in-person and virtually to individual grantees and in group settings that promote peer learning. The Center will work with CB to disseminate their culturally sensitive products and findings and work with other CB technical service providers to disseminate cross-grant products and findings, when applicable.
The Center will evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the activities and strategies described within this FOA. The evaluation will be supported by a logic model. It must assess processes and progress towards the goals and objectives of the Center and determine whether it is having the expected results. The evaluation will assess achievement of expected outcomes. It will provide greater understanding and improvement of the funded activities. The evaluation must also include a valid and reliable measurement plan and sound methodological design. It will be based on a sound plan for data collection and sharing, a clear description of the participants, and a sound plan for data management and analyses.
The Center will have sufficient in-house capacity to conduct an objective evaluation of the project or provide a sound plan for contracting with a third-party evaluator specializing in social science or evaluation, or a university or college to conduct the evaluation.
The grantee shall provide, no later than 90 days prior to the end of the final performance period, copies of plans for the transfer of the project should a new grantee be selected. If necessary, the Center will initiate transition activities 60 days prior to the expiration of the cooperative agreement. These activities include providing complete documentation and all materials and transfer of all software developed for the website and data acquired with grant funds or at the direction of the Federal Project Officer, as well as participating in meetings and assisting with the development of a project transition plan.